German Catholics lose church rights for unpaid tax
24 September 2012 Last updated at 17:46 BST
Germany's Roman Catholics are to be denied the right to Holy Communion or religious burial if they stop paying a special church tax.
A German bishops' decree which has just come into force says anyone failing to pay the tax - an extra 8% of their income tax bill - will no longer be considered a Catholic.
The bishops have been alarmed by the number of Catholics leaving the Church.
Steve Evans reports.